Preparing a place for the baby and choosing equipment
Most women feel well and energetic in the middle period of their pregnancy and this is a good time to get things ready. Even if you are superstitious it is sensible to plan beforehand. Where will the baby sleep? There is something to be said for keeping the baby in your room for the first month or two, especially at night, when you want to get the whole feeding performance done with as little disruption of your sleep as possible.
But if the presence of the little stranger is going to make you listen nervously to every grunt she makes (and tiny babies do make an awful lot of old man snuffling and wheezing noises in their sleep), then you will all be better off if you can give her a separate place to sleep. It doesn’t have to be a room of her own, just somewhere out of draughts and within hearing.
If you are going to set up a nursery, you will want everything of the best. Luckily the best need not be the most expensive, and you can often get the top results by being inventive and practical.
Basically a baby needs something to sleep in. Moses baskets or wooden cribs allow the air to circulate and are preferable to plastic. But a carry-cot, pram, or even a drawer, will do until the child outgrows it and moves to a cot. The room should be warm and draught free, and you will need a suitable surface to use as a changing area and space for clothes and toilet items.
Baby compe ctums with drawers and a bath that folds away are tempting, but expensive, ana you will be better off spending your money on something that will be useful when the baby grows up. If you don’t have a built-in cupboard to store nappies and baby clothes, a chest of drawers in unpainted pine or similar wood is inexpensive and can be made to look attractive quite easily.
Wall-paper pasted on to the front and sides of the chest looks good and you can add a sheet of plastic laminate to the top for a really easy to clean surface. A towel rail and a paper towel holder screwed to the sides of the chest are handy, and if you put the whole thing on castors you will be able to move it about easily.
If you don’t fancy wall-paper you can paint the chest with a non-toxic enamel paint, using a contrasting colour for the drawers.
Simply sealing the wood with clear yacht varnish gives a durable and good-looking natural wood finish. Make sure you smooth well with fine sandpaper before you paint or varnish. If you can bring yourself to break away from baby pastels, and remember, children love bright colours, you can create a stunning effect with the use of colour in the nursery. Just stick to any combination of primary colours (red, yellow, blue) and you cannot go-wrong. If you want to be dashing but not too daring, use no more than two basic colours, like blue and yellow; red and white with touches of blue or yellow. White with any of the primary colours looks crisp and clean. Lime green and white with shocking pink accents is a delectable ‹“candy colour’ combination.
Instead of a chest of drawers/you can make do with rows of shelves hung with metal basket-type drawers, or just shelves with curtains around them.
A place to change and bath the baby is essential and should be at elbow height to avoid back strain. If you do not have a bathstand you can rest the bath on the top of the chest of drawers or on a table. If you use the chest for bathing you will need somewhere else to change the baby afterwards. If there is a bed or divan in the room you can use that if you work sitting down, but make sure the cover is washable.
When planning the nursery layout think of the order in which you will be doing things and plan for convenience.